Comparing Digital and Analog Hearing Aids

March 12, 2019 5:50 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The hearing aid technologies available today represent significant advancements from what was available in past decades, or even just a few years ago. But how exactly have digital hearing aids expanded on the abilities of analog hearing aids, and what really are the differences in today’s technology versus what used to be the standard?

Here’s some interesting information from an audiologist in California to give you some greater insight into the advancement of hearing aid technology.

Digital vs. analog

All hearing aids operate in generally the same way: there is a microphone and amplifier inside the device, as well as a speaker and battery. The microphone picks up sound in the surrounding environment, the amplifier boosts the sound signal and the speaker sends that sound to your ear, all of this being powered by the small battery in the device. The main difference between digital and analog hearing aids is how they process the sound.

Analog hearing aids do this in a rather simple way. They pick up sound through the microphone and amplify that sound before sending the louder sounds to the ear through the speaker. This includes all sounds in the surrounding environment, including any background noise and other sounds you’re already able to hear.

This means the big difference is that digital hearing aids are capable of amplifying only the sounds that you need to be louder, or that you want to be louder. Digital hearing aids transform all the sound that comes in through the microphone into a digital code that can be manipulated, meaning digital hearing aids are capable of changing the sound fundamentally before it’s amplified into the ears.

What gives digital the upper hand?

As you might imagine, the ability of digital hearing aids to essentially filter out unwanted sounds makes them much more desirable over analog hearing aids. This ability has been the single biggest advancement in hearing aid technology over the years, but there are some other advantages associated with digital hearing aids as well:

  • They typically have more stylish and aesthetically pleasing designs than analog hearing aids.
  • They can be programmed by your hearing specialist to process sound in different ways depending on the environment in which they’re used, meaning users can achieve outstanding hearing levels in any number of situations (such as quiet rooms versus noisy public areas).
  • They can be customized and fine-tuned for each individual patient, which is beneficial because each person hears sound frequencies at different decibel levels.
  • They are smaller and harder to notice, which means people who might have been embarrassed by using hearing aids will be able to use them in a manner that is nearly undetectable.

For more information about the various types of hearing aids available to today’s hearing loss patients and the benefits of digital over analog hearing aids, we encourage you to contact an audiologist in California at Valley Hearing Center – Salinas and we will be happy to answer any questions you have for us about hearing aid technology.

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